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Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly chosen to lead historic Ballingarry Famine Walk

By Sean Ryan - 22 July, 2017

The walk is in memory of those who died and those who had to leave Ireland during the Great Famine. It also remembers William Smith MP, who tried to stage a moral force revolution in Ballingarry in 1848 in response to the Famine.

Pic Cllr Imelda Goldsboro from Ballingarry

The Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Dr Kieran O’Reilly has been chosen to lead this year’s Famine 1848 Walk in Ballingarry in South Tipperary on Saturday 29 July next.

This walk is in memory of those who died and those who had to leave Ireland during the Great Famine. It also remembers William Smith MP, who tried to stage a moral force revolution in Ballingarry in 1848 in response to the Famine.

The walk begins at the Young Ireland 1848 and National Flag monument in the village of The Commons and ends at the Famine Warhouse 1848, the State’s national heritage site which is in the Slieveardagh Hills. The walk, now in its 11th year, is organised by the Ballingarry 1848 Historical Society and attracts both national and international visitors.

Speaking this week to catholicireland.net, local councillor Imelda Goldsboro welcomed the fact that Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly would be leading this year’s walk. She said “this year’s walk takes on even greater significance because this year’s national famine commemoration takes place in the village of Ballingarry on September 30th and will be officiated at by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.”

She added: “Archbishop O’Reilly is a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) and so has experience of working with those affected by famine and emigration as well as refugees. He has seen hardship and despair at first hand, something which affected our own country 150 years ago. At the beginning of Archbishop O Reilly’s ministry he also worked as a missionary priest in Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa and later in Nigeria.”

Archbishop O’Reilly, who became Bishop of Killaloe in 2010 and Archbishop of Cashel & Emly in 2015, will also deliver the walk leader’s speech at the conclusion of the walk.

The local committee says that the walk takes about 45 minutes to complete, and those who do not wish to walk or are unable to do so are still welcome to participate at the house museum which has a historical exhibition telling the story of the Great Famine, rebellion and emigration from Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century.

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